Student nurses’ perceptions of their hospital placement in Barbados: A mixed methods approach

  • Sonia Watson-Miller

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Health (DHealth)


Background: Practical training on hospital wards is a major component of basic nurse training. With this in mind, there were concerns with respect to the ability to provide nursing students with the quality of clinical experience that is required as a result of changes in the Barbados nursing policy to increase the number of students. Aim: The overall aim of this research was to understand student nurses’ clinical placement learning experience at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados, based on their current and desired clinical experiences. Research objectives: (1) to examine the student nurses’ current learning experiences at the hospital; (2) to determine the student nurses’ desired experiences at the hospital; and, (3) to compare and contrast their current clinical experience with their desired experience by integrating the data across the quantitative and qualitative studies.Design: A sequential explanatory mixed methods research.Methods: First study: The Clinical Learning Environment Inventory (CLEI) (current and desired form) and the Clinical Learning Environment, Supervision and Nurse Teacher (CLES+T) questionnaires were distributed to second and third year student nurses (n = 191) at the Barbados Community College. Descriptive and inferential analysis performed. Second study: Qualitative semi-structured interviews (n = 10) among second and third year student nurses analysed thematically.Results: Quantitative survey (First study): ‘Student satisfaction’ (mean 25.74 of 35), ‘Task orientation’ (mean 25.62 of 35), the ‘Leadership style of the ward sister’ (mean 4.02 of 5) and ‘Premises of nursing care on the ward’ (mean 4.01 of 5) greatly informed students’ actual hospital experience. The current and desired hospital experiences were statistically significant different (z = 6.68 to 8.07, p = 0.000). Qualitative interviews (Second study): Four overarching themes were generated: ‘Engaged, proactive and communicative team’; ‘No cohesion among team’; ‘Students – willing to learn and motivated’; and, ‘Consequences – positive and negative’. Overarching findings from both studies: Four major topics describe the student nurses’ experiences: ‘Engagement of the ward nursing team’, ‘The nature of nursing care delivery’, ‘Clinical supervision and teaching of nursing students on the ward’, and ‘Nursing student satisfaction’. Conclusion: The ward sister influences the ward team spirit and students’ clinical learning, negatively or positively. Nurse educators should acknowledge the value of clear, well organised ward activities on students’ learning. Clinical nursing curricula should be based on a blended educational learning perspective.
Date of Award23 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorCandy McCabe (Supervisor), Sarah Hewlett (Supervisor) & Alan Buckingham (Supervisor)


  • ward learning environment
  • student nurses
  • clinical placement
  • Mixed methods

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